Like many other countries, high production costs and low lint prices
prompted Greek growers to turn to alternative crops. In 2009-10, total
cotton acreage was about 200,000 hectares—the lowest of the
decade—although the number announced by the Ministry of Agriculture was
higher by 35,000 hectares .
.There is always a difference between the acreage announced by the
Ministry and the “real” cotton acreage cultivated professionally by
farmers. Because of the new E.U. Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), some
growers are more interested in the subsidy (65 percent de-coupled and 35
percent coupled) than taking care of their fields or picking their
cotton. There are also farmers who, to get the cotton subsidy, produce
two different crops in the same year. In those cases, the cotton yield
is very poor (if it’s harvested at all) and is often referred to as “dry
fields” because it is not irrigated effectively. As a result, it should
not be counted toward the overall acreage .
.The Ministry of Agriculture has not yet announced any figures about
the new crop, but several trustworthy sources have estimated that cotton
acreage will approach 230,000 hectares—an increase of 15 percent to 20
percent over last year’s figure .
.The areas with the biggest increase are expected to be Macedonia (22
percent) and Thessaly (15 percent to 18 percent), largely due to a shift
from corn to cotton. South Greece (Levadia) and Thrace likely will see a
smaller increase of about 5 percent. With lint prices on the high side,
seed cotton prices likely will be too, so cotton growers will be
looking for high yields .
.In addition, the government has already announced that a new set of
controls will be applied next season in order to minimize “subsidy
hunting” by farmers. The Greek Ministry of Agriculture, together with
the department of cotton subsidies (OPEKEPE), will force growers to
reach a minimum yield and plant a certain percentage of certified seed
on their fields in order to get the 35 percent coupled subsidy .
.These developments make it likely that next season’s lint production
will increase even more than the acreage will. The more optimistic
experts believe production might even approach 300,000 tons! Even with a
more conservative outlook, it is very likely that lint production will
range between 260,000 and 270,000 tons, an increase of 30 percent to 35
percent over last season (assuming weather conditions are favorable) .
.”strong>Ginner’s selling strategy and balance sheet for July”/strong>.
For the first time in many years, we will enter the new crop with no
beginning stocks. Last season’s limited production of 200,000 tons was
not enough to cover our domestic and export needs, therefore ginners
sold all of their stocks to take advantage of the market’s high prices .
.As a result, some spinners and ginners imported cotton from Africa
and Brazil. Ginners acted as traders and bought cotton to sell to their
usual channels until the new crop comes to market. It is possible that
in the coming seasons, some financially strong ginners will continue to
trade other crops as part of a diversification strategy .
.Regarding future sales, most ginners have already committed a
considerable part (about 40,000 tons) of their new production—a
historically high number. A part of this volume is not yet sold to
clients abroad, with some ginners buying from cooperatives or smaller
ginning firms. Ginners are not in a hurry to sell more, even though New
York futures market is correcting and physical prices remain strong.
With new crop seed cotton prices still unknown, ginners are reluctant to
take on more risk.